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Mr. Portillo: I took part in a round-table discussion on unemployment and under-employment at the world economic forum in Davos at which Mr. Alphande ry and others were present. A full note of the meeting has not been produced to the best of my knowledge. A one-page summary of the meeting has been published by the world economic forum and I shall arrange for a copy to be placed in the Library.
Mr. Portillo: According to figures notified to the Invest in Britain Bureau, as a result of inward investment more than 126,000 new jobs were created, and nearly 200,000 more were safeguarded, in the United Kingdom in the five financial years to 1993 94.
Mr. Oppenheim: The United Kingdom youth unemployment rate is below the European average and is lower than in every EU country except Denmark, Luxembourg and Portugal. The information is contained in the table.
Seasonally adjusted youth unemployment rates in EU countries |Latest month ------------------------------------------------ Belguim |19.4 (November) Denmark |10.0 (October) Germany<2> |- Greece<1> |- Spain |36.3 (November) France |23.0 (November) Ireland |27.1 (November) Italy |31.2 (November) Luxembourg |7.1 (November) Netherland |15.4 (October) Portugal |11.4 (November) United Kingdom |13.5 (November) EC Average |19.5 (November) Source: Statistical Office of the European Community Unemployment Bulletin. Latest available data-subject to revision. <1>Only 1991 annual average figures available for Greece <2>No ILO rate available for unified Germany
Column 17816 to 17-year-olds who are not in receipt of a youth training scheme place.
27. Mr. Pearson: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the percentage change in the number of hard-to-fill vacancies over the last year; and in which sectors these skill shortages are most concentrated.
Mr. Paice: The number of hard-to-fill vacancies reported by medium and large employers increased by 76 per cent. between spring 1993 and spring 1994. These hard-to-fill vacancies are most concentrated in manufacturing, wholesale and retail, hotel and restaurants and the health and social work sectors.
The latest figures show that in the year to December 1994 claimant unemployment in East Sussex fell by 12 per cent., while the labour force survey indicates that in the year to summer 1994 employment in the area increased by 14,000 to 316,000.
Miss Widdecombe: Currently, around 30,000 staff are employed on front-line duties in jobcentres. They provide a range of services designed to help unemployed people back to work, and to pay benefit to those who are entitled to it. The main tasks staff undertake are job-broking--obtaining vacancies from employers and sending jobseekers to them, advising jobseekers on the range of help available and paying unemployment benefit to those entitled to it. Actual duties are interchangeable, as staff are encouraged to be able to perform a variety of work.
Mr. Paice: The extent of the problems at South Thames training and enterprise council was revealed by a team of accountants led by staff from this Department with the support of the accountancy firm, Grant Thornton. Grant Thornton reported to this Department on 16 December 1994. Its report was conveyed to the TEC on the same day. The report showed that the TEC was trading at a loss and forecasted that this would continue, that its balance at best was negative or would shortly become so,
Column 179that it faced major cash flow problems and that weaknesses in its management accounting and financial control systems persisted. In the light of the report, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State concluded that it would be unsafe to commit further public money to the TEC. In view of the report and that conclusion the board of South Thames TEC concluded on 21 December 1994 that the company was insolvent and invited my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to appoint a receiver.
Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will update each quarter a list of training providers to South Thames TEC that became business failures because of money unpaid by South Thames TEC.
Mr. Paice: The training and enterprise council's financial affairs are currently a matter for the receiver appointed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. I shall reply to the hon. Member's question when the receiver has done the necessary work in connection with the TEC's affairs.
Mr. Bryan Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he is taking to ensure that training guarantees for young people and unemployed adults in the area formerly covered by South Thames TEC are fulfilled.
Mr. Paice: The Government guarantee that any young person aged 16 to 17 who is not in employment, training or education and seeks youth training will be offered a suitable opportunity. There is no equivalent guarantee for unemployed adults. The Department's main aim is to ensure the continued provision of training in the South Thames training and enterprise council area. A number of steps have been taken to assure training providers that they will be paid for training undertaken since 7 November 1994. The Department has issued letters of comfort to providers contracted to South Thames TEC for training for work and youth training credits, child care, work-related further education, careers and guidance year 9 and 10 and careers libraries. The Department of the Environment has extended comfort to the business start-up programme. The Government office for London is making payments direct to providers of these programmes under the terms of its contract with South Thames TEC from 7 November 1994 until 1 January 1995. For the period of three months from the appointment of the receiver on 21 December 1994, the Departments will make available to the receiver sufficient funds to ensure providers receive payments for training and outputs delivered by them under the terms of their contract with South Thames TEC for the same programmes.
I made an announcement on 31 January, Official Report, columns 598 600, in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Eltham (Mr. Bottomley), about the future arrangements for the South Thames TEC area. Two neighbouring TECs, Central London TEC and South London TEC have been invited to submit proposals to me on how they would provide the full range of TEC responsibilities for the area fro the beginning of the new financial year.
Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the names and addresses of training providers who did not have a formal contract with South Thames TEC but who had provided training by agreement with South Thames TEC.
Mr. Paice: I understand that the South Thames training and enterprise council did not have formal contracts but paid under letters of intent to providers of the following programmes: compacts, teacher placement service, work-related further education and years 9 and 10 careers-guidance. In addition, some providers of traineeships to Routeways- -a wholly owned subsidiary of South Thames TEC--were also paid through letters of intent. The providers covered by letters of intent are shown in the following table:
Archbishop Michael Ramsey
Charles Edward Brooke
St. Martin's in the Field
St. Saviours and St. Olaves
Abbey Wood School
Addey and Stanhope School
Blackheath Bluecoat C of E
Brent Knoll School
Catford County Girls School
Crown Woods School
Deptford Green School
Eaglesfield Boys School
Eltham Green School
Forest Hill School
Hatcham Wood School
John Evelyn ESC
John Roan School
Northbrook C of E School
Plumstead Manor School
Prendergas Girls School
Column 181St. Joseph's Academy Boys
St. Pauls RC School
The Schoolhouse Alternative Education Project
Woolwich Polytechnic Boys
Southwark Careers Service
Lambeth Careers Service
Lewisham Careers Service
Greenwich Careers Service
British School of Motoring
Goodnews Training Ltd.
Pepys Radio Project